Pope Francis starts tour of Baltic nations in Lithuania

Twenty-five years after the visit of Pope John Paul II, Pope Francis begins a tour of the Baltic countries starting in Lithuania, where he is warmly welcomed in Vilnius. However, revelations of child abuse continue to hang over the Church, with new revelations from Germany expected to coincide with the end of his trip.

Dogs help children read in Lithuania library

Therapy dogs give struggling young readers in Lithuania the positive attention and confidence they need to become happy bookworms. Mona, a black flat-coated retriever, listens intently to eight-year-old Urte as she reads aloud from a children’s book sitting comfortably on a red pillow in Lithuania’s grand national library in Vilnius.

Fictional Little Green Men Seize Lithuanian Town (Excerpt from ‘The Russians Are Coming: Lithuania)

Since Russia’s seizure of the Crimean peninsula and the start of conflict in eastern Ukraine in spring 2014, the small Baltic state of Lithuania has been anxiously eyeing Moscow. Some in the capital of Vilnius believe that the country might fall prey to a Ukraine-style military incursion, orchestrated by Russia.

Lithuania, a former Soviet satellite, shares a border with the heavily militarized Russian exclave of Kaliningrad — which houses Russia’s Baltic fleet and has been flooded with arms and personnel in the last year. From Kaliningrad, Russia has staged military drills that reportedly involve thousands of soldiers, hundreds of military vehicles, and dozens of warships. In response, Lithuanian forces are also mobilizing.

In May, VICE News followed the Lithuanian army during Operation Lightning Strike — a four-day wargames exercise. The drill marked the first nation-wide test of Lithuania’s new 2,500-strong “Rapid Reaction Force,” set up in the wake of the Ukraine crisis to deal with hybrid warfare threats, such as armed protests, airfield and weapons stockpile seizures, and the sudden appearance of “little green men” who seem to take orders from far away.

In this excerpt, VICE News travels to Kaisiadorys, Lithuania, where separatist insurgents backed by the fictional country of Udija have seized a government building — all as part of a country-wide military exercise.

Watch “The Russians Are Coming: Lithuania’s Operation Lightning Strike” – http://bit.ly/1RzVIHw

Read “Meet the Colonel in Charge of Countering Russian Propaganda in Lithuania” – http://bit.ly/1dAnMgN

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Mock Invasion by the State of Udija (Extra Scene from ‘The Russians Are Coming: Lithuania’)

Since Russia’s seizure of the Crimean peninsula and the start of conflict in eastern Ukraine in spring 2014, the small Baltic state of Lithuania has been anxiously eyeing Moscow. Some in the capital of Vilnius believe that the country might fall prey to a Ukraine-style military incursion, orchestrated by Russia.

Lithuania, a former Soviet satellite, shares a border with the heavily militarized Russian exclave of Kaliningrad — which houses Russia’s Baltic fleet and has been flooded with arms and personnel in the last year. From Kaliningrad, Russia has staged military drills that reportedly involve thousands of soldiers, hundreds of military vehicles, and dozens of warships. In response, Lithuanian forces are also mobilizing.

In May, VICE News followed the Lithuanian army during Operation Lightning Strike — a four-day wargames exercise. The drill marked the first nation-wide test of Lithuania’s new 2,500-strong “Rapid Reaction Force,” set up in the wake of the Ukraine crisis to deal with hybrid warfare threats, such as armed protests, airfield and weapons stockpile seizures, and the sudden appearance of “little green men” who seem to take orders from far away.

In this extra scene, a mock uprising of protestors supporting the fictional enemy state of Udija, seemingly a veiled reference to Russia, attack Lithuanian soldiers, in an exercise designed to mimic populist uprisings that have defined recent conflicts in Eastern Europe.

Watch “The Russians Are Coming: Lithuania’s Operation Lightning Strike” – http://bit.ly/1RzVIHw

Read “Russia Threatens Retaliation If US Puts Heavy Weaponry in Eastern Europe” – http://bit.ly/1Ig9sXl

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The Russians Are Coming: Lithuania’s Operation Lightning Strike

Since Russia’s seizure of the Crimean peninsula and the start of conflict in eastern Ukraine in spring 2014, the small Baltic state of Lithuania has been anxiously eyeing Moscow. Some in the capital of Vilnius believe that the country might fall prey to a Ukraine-style military incursion, orchestrated by Russia.

Lithuania, a former Soviet satellite, shares a border with the heavily militarized Russian exclave of Kaliningrad — which houses Russia’s Baltic fleet and has been flooded with arms and personnel in the last year. From Kaliningrad, Russia has staged military drills that reportedly involve thousands of soldiers, hundreds of military vehicles, and dozens of warships. In response, Lithuanian forces are also mobilizing.

In May, VICE News followed the Lithuanian army during Operation Lightning Strike — a four-day wargames exercise. The drill marked the first nation-wide test of Lithuania’s new 2,500-strong “Rapid Reaction Force,” set up in the wake of the Ukraine crisis to deal with hybrid warfare threats, such as armed protests, airfield and weapons stockpile seizures, and the sudden appearance of “little green men” who seem to take orders from far away.

Watch “Selfie Soldiers: Russia Checks in to Ukraine (Trailer)” – http://bit.ly/1cLlJpo

Read “Meet the Colonel in Charge of Countering Russian Propaganda in Lithuania” – http://bit.ly/1dAnMgN

Subscribe to VICE News here: http://bit.ly/Subscribe-to-VICE-News

Check out VICE News for more: http://vicenews.com

Follow VICE News here:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vicenews
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Tumblr: http://vicenews.tumblr.com/
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More videos from the VICE network: https://www.fb.com/vicevideos

The Russians Are Coming: Lithuania’s Operation Lightning Strike (Trailer)

Since Russia’s seizure of the Crimean peninsula and the start of conflict in eastern Ukraine in spring 2014, the small Baltic state of Lithuania has been anxiously eyeing Moscow. Some in the capital of Vilnius believe that the country might fall prey to a Ukraine-style military incursion, orchestrated by Russia.

Lithuania, a former Soviet satellite, shares a border with the heavily militarized Russian exclave of Kaliningrad — which houses Russia’s Baltic fleet and has been flooded with arms and personnel in the last year. From Kaliningrad, Russia has staged military drills that reportedly involve thousands of soldiers, hundreds of military vehicles, and dozens of warships. In response, Lithuanian forces are also mobilizing.

In May, VICE News embedded with the Lithuanian army during Operation Lightning Strike — a four-day wargames exercise. The drill marked the first nation-wide test of Lithuania’s new 2,500-strong “Rapid Reaction Force,” set up in the wake of the Ukraine crisis to deal with hybrid warfare threats, such as armed protests, airfield and weapons stockpile seizures, and the sudden appearance of “little green men” who seem to take orders from far away.

Watch “Selfie Soldiers: Russia Checks in to Ukraine (Trailer)” – http://bit.ly/1cLlJpo

Read “Lithuania Thinks the Russians Are Coming — and It’s Preparing with Wargames” – http://bit.ly/1e2DqCB

Subscribe to VICE News here: http://bit.ly/Subscribe-to-VICE-News

Check out VICE News for more: http://vicenews.com

Follow VICE News here:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vicenews
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More videos from the VICE network: https://www.fb.com/vicevideos